While it has nothing to do with the actual etymology of the word, “remember” connotes putting back together the parts of something that has been dismembered: re-member. Similarly, “recollect” connotes bringing back together something which was once of a piece and then scattered: re-collect.
Where “memory” seems exclusively cerebral, “remember” and “recollect” have a physical, embodied sense about them: something that once was whole is no longer such, and can be made so again.
Remembering is a creative action. Which is why we often don’t remember things exactly as they happened, and why different people remember the same event differently. Our memories always have our own personal “touch” to them.
As with any creative action, the intent and desire of the creator matters. In a culture which encourages passive consumption – of material goods, facts, and cultural narratives created by others for their benefit, not yours – remembering is an act of agency, not only for ourselves, but for those who would forget.
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